July 23, 2014

Jazz Painting

 Emily Trespas
Unsquare Dance: Ode to Brubeck, 
oil on canvas, 15 x 30 inches, 2013

Titling art is a favorite part of my creative process. Frequently I just know the title, other times I welcome research. Usually something in the work tips me off; it might be a shape, a color, a distant cousin to the original inspiration or a direct descendant.
Emily Trespas
Sweet Rain: Ode to Getz
acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14 inches, 2013
The titles for these paintings emerged from jazz. The loops repeat and intertwine like steps in a dance—notes in a song, clapping hands, the samba, bossa nova. Or blue dusk and the floating just before sleep. Song as painting. Nothing new but the dial tunes to Brubeck and Gezt without pause. 

Listening to "Sweet Rain," I found an informative post, Unsquare Dance, on Monk Rowe's blog. He is the Jazz Archives Director at Hamilton College.

Including the above paintings, I have eight paintings on display in a local exhibit at Phillips Academy through July 30th.

Summer Session Faculty Art Exhibit  
Reception: Friday, July 25th,  6 to 7:30 pm

Gelb Exhibition Gallery

George Washington Hall
5 Chapel Avenue

Phillips Academy, Andover, MA

July 22, 2014


Emily Trespas  | in-progress proof print 
 "Gather"  |  July 2014

This July I am teaching Visual Studies to a group of rising Phillips Academy ninth graders. Last week we worked on relief prints. 

The students who finished their two required (portrait and place) plates could earn extra credit by creating another portrait .... but without the aid of Photoshop filters. In other words, they had to carve the translation from a color image directly into black and white shapes and textures on the relief block. 

A few students took to this challenge:  find a person/character from a magazine or art history book and create a new scene.

My example (above) was borrowed from Matisse's painting, "Nymph and Satyr." The open-ended possibilities of this reaching figure appealed to me; he could be reaching for something other than what the artist intended.

Part of this prompt involved the concept of "how artists may find inspiration." I explained to them my process.  The week before this project, I re-read Shirley Jackson's short story, The Lottery. The final line of the story is unforgettable: "And then they were upon her." 

When I saw this Satyr reaching for the Nymph, I thought of the young boy in Jackson's story who excitedly gathered his pile of stones. That the man in my print remains nude adds to a pure, vulnerable and animalistic presence.

Henri Matisse |  "Nymph and Satyr"  |  oil on canvas  | 1909